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Nintendo refuses to compete with $1 titles

Immersive games impossible at that price.

Nintendo is not concerned by competition from cheap $1 smartphone games and has no plans to lower its software prices accordingly, so says the creator of the 3DS.

Hideki Konno explained to Gamasutra that rather than lower standards to allow it to sell games for less, Nintendo planned to pour more resources into making sure its titles competed at a quality level, rather than on price.

"We're not going to try to match that," he insisted, addressing the issue of rock-bottom priced smartphone titles.

"We're just going to continually strive to not just maintain, but increase, the quality of the entertainment that we're providing, and let it sort itself out. Again, we're not worried about competing at a price point level.

Konno then speculated that Microsoft and Sony held exactly the same opinion on the issue, adding that it wasn't possible to make an immersive, content-rich title for such a low price.

"Now of course as a customer, if somebody said to me, 'Hey, we've got Call of Duty on your portable device and it's only going to cost you 100 yen,' yeah, I'd be super stoked, really excited about that," he said.

"And I'd be really excited to see a great game at a really cheap price, but I just don't think that you could make a game that's immersive and as big as, let's say Call of Duty, or any other large title, and sell it at that price point; it's just not possible.

"The only way that you're going to get a game at that price point is if it's a limited version with limited levels or something. They're going to have to reduce it to sell at that price. So that other game - because the content is valuable - it's still going to be a viable product at a higher price point.

"If we went out and created one of our titles - a big title for Nintendo - and we decided to sell it at, like, say 100 yen," he continued, "how many do we have to sell to get back our investment? That number's insane. It's just incredible, right?

What's more, Konno argued, gamers don't mind paying extra if they know they're getting a quality product.

"As a game developer I've put my heart into what I create, and I'm hoping that what I'm putting out there is something that people will be engaged by and entertained by. And as a consumer, I want the same thing. If I go and I see a game that interests me and I think I want to play it, I don't mind the fact that I have to pay a reasonable price for it.

"I'm not trying to say that I think games on cell phones are a bad thing; I'm not trying to say that they're worthless, or have no value at all. I'm just saying that they're just different."

The 3DS launches this Friday, with full retail games currently priced at around £30. The eShop, which will offer cheaper downloadable titles, will be added in via a system update later this year.

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Fred Dutton


Fred Dutton was Eurogamer's US news editor, based in Washington DC.